• The College crest over the entrance to College Hall

    The College crest over the entrance to College Hall

  • First address to the College at the AGM in 2015

    First address to the College at the AGM in 2015

  • Main entrance to the College

    Main entrance to the College

Dum Spiro Spero

I have just returned from an excellent visit to Malaysia where I had the privilege of delivering the prestigious AM Ismail Oration at the Opening Ceremony of the Malaysian College of Surgeons Annual Clinical Congress in Kuching. The lecture is named for one of the most visionary leaders in clinical surgery in the Asia Pacific region.

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Haji Abdul Majid Bin Ismail was born in 1921. He grew up and was educated in Kuala Lumpur. He was the eldest of twelve children, born to humble parents and he had to make a contribution to the family income. He did this in various ways – as a golf caddy, a trader, a farmer and a waiter. He obtained his MB,BS from University of Malaya in Singapore in 1950 after a course which had been interrupted by the Second World War. He gained the FRCS in 1955 and then trained in orthopaedic surgery. He obtained the Masters of Orthopaedic Surgery from the University of Liverpool in 1957.

A M Ismail, or Koko as he was fondly referred to, was the founder and Past President of the College of Surgeons of Malaysia as well as a founding Member and Past President of Malaysian Orthopaedic Association. He became the Director-General of Health for the Malaysian government in 1971 and he was a Council Member of University of Malaya for 28 years. Notwithstanding his many accolades he remained a humble man and those who knew him spoke of a man satisfied in a fulfilled life. He died in 2013. It seemed most fitting to honour his memory with an eponymous lecture. I will develop and summarise the topic for the lecture in a future blog post.

The annual conference this year was held in Kuching, the main city in the Kingdom of Sarawak. The motto for the region was taken as the motto for the meeting – Dum Spiro Spero; While I breathe, I hope. Interestingly, it is a motto shared with the university town of St Andrews in Fife.

One of the main benefits of conferences like this rests in the opportunity to share clinical and research experience. One of the significant developments was the signing of an MOU with the Academy for Silent Mentor. This is a Malaysian initiative developed by one of our Fellows, Professor Chin Kin-Fah and in many ways provides a parallel operation to the Clinical Anatomy Skills Centre which we share with the University of Glasgow. This will allow us to develop joint courses and research projects; share faculty, ideas and best practice. In addition I had the opportunity to renew friendships with many colleagues and was impressed by the strong links and affection in which our College is held in that part of the world. There was also the opportunity to develop ideas and collaborative projects with specialist colleagues in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Now we look forward to welcoming friends and colleagues from around the globe as our exciting Excellence in Healthcare conference approaches (8 and 9 June). Do plan to join us – a great opportunity for sharing experiences for the greater goal of serving our patients effectively and with safety and skill.